This type of system makes the information searchable, readable (because the doctors writing is never perfect), and the information can be shared with the patient in the rooms and shown in a text format so they can understand what the doctor has written.
Over centuries paper – based records have been under use and have been gradually been replaced by computer-based records. Medical Records that are computer-based has been used in western systems of healthcare for over twenty years. However the use of information systems that are computerized has had slow progress as compared to other sectors such as transport, finance and manufacturing industries. The use and employment of electronic health records varies significantly from a given specialty to another and from one country to another having revolved for local application by use of available local systems.
According to a survey on the national onset of the electronic medical records application indicates that it may have hit 90% in Sweden, Denmark and Norway in primary care activities. Meanwhile the systems were indicated to have been employed more in the administrative sector rather than in the healthcare sector. Electronic medical records have to be set at the center for proper integration of other modern technologies like systems supporting decisions in any computer-based medical information system setup.
The electronic medical records is multi-specialty, multi-provider, paperless, multi-discipline and interoperable medical record that is computerized. it has been anticipated by administrators, researchers, professions in health sector and politicians for over twenty years. According to the 2003 IOM patient safety report; electronic medical records includes longitudinal collection of electronic medical information about a given patient, decision-support systems and knowledge provision, efficient health care delivery processes support and person and population electronic access of information.
The current systems used in healthcare have shown not to be efficient, effective, and safe and of high quality as compared to employment of electronic medical records set at the center of computerized system setup. Canada, Denmark, Australia, France, UK, USA governments are implementing ways to develop infrastructures in healthcare by computerization integration which involves deployment of electronic medical record systems which is interoperable. Electronic medical records have also been related with other terms such as electronic health record (EHR), electronic patient records (EPR), and computer-based patient record (CPR).
Promotion of quality, efficiency and safety can be enhanced in health care delivery by eight care delivery purposes in the electronic medical records systems. They include;
- Result management that allows quick access of recent and past patients test results by the healthcare provider which enhances the care effectiveness and patient safety.
- Health data and information provision of the patient such as laboratory test outcomes, allergies, diagnoses and medication that promote the healthcare ability to make the correct clinical decisions.
- Decision-support that helps in compliance improvement by regular screening, better clinical practices, facilitate treatment and diagnoses, drug interaction identification and ensure preventive activities. This is achieved by the use of prompts, reminders, and alerts using the computerized decision-support system.
- Order management which refers to the order entering and storage ability for tests, prescriptions in a computerized system. This enhances order execution speed, lower duplication, and promotes legibility.
- Patient support which allows patients to access their health attainments, interactive patient education provision and allows them also to carry out self-testing and home-monitoring. This improves chronic conditions like diabetes control.
- Electronic connectivity and communication which allows care continuity improve the diagnoses and treatment time and reduces occurrence of harmful effects. This is achieved by the provision of secure, efficient, and accessible communication among the care providers.
- Reporting that involves storage of data electronically and uses same standards of data. This facilitates the healthcare unit to respond to state, federal, and private reports quickly including other reports from surveillance of diseases and patient safety.
- Administrative processes that greatly enhance the healthcare providers’ efficiency and allow more provision of services to the patients. This is done by administrative tools that are computerized including schedule systems.